Wednesday 29 July 2020

Book Review - How Hard Can Love Be

Title: How Hard Can Love Be
Author: Holly Bourne
Series: The Spinster Club (Book 2)
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Release Date: 1 Feb. 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1409591221

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.

My Review
I was a little bit hesitant about this book, the main character in this one is Amber, after reading the first book in the series, Amber was my least favourite character, constantly moaning because she is tall and ginger - like those are the worst things to be in life. You are who you are, and Amber needs to accept herself, but she seems to use it as an excuse or defense as to why things don't go right. I was worried this whole book would be her whining and moaning, but I wanted to give her a try.
These books can be read as stand-alone novels, but there are odd references to events from 'Am I Normal Yet', so I would recommend reading them in order.
Amber is 17, her mum left 2 years ago and she hasn't seen her since. Stuck in the UK with her dad, wicked step-mother, and younger step-brother from hell, Amber is desperate to have an adventure and get away. Her mum is now living with her new husband Kevin in America, they run a summer camp together and have agreed to let Amber come over for the summer. Amber is going to work at the camp teaching Art, but she is more excited to be able to spend some time with her mum. But nothing ever works out as expected.
Amber struggles with the fact that her mum still hasn't changed and doesn't seem to be that interested in her, she spends more time with her husband or surrounded by loud screaming camp children than with Amber, but seems to be happy with a 2 minute conversation. Amber makes new friends at the camp with the other counselors, finding an instant connection to Whinnie and an instant attraction to Kyle - your typical High School hottie, Prom King and all together smart guy, but the problem is, all the girls like him, so why would he ever look at Amber.
The actual plot and idea of this book is really good and I enjoyed seeing Amber grow and develop and experience the Summer Camp environment. She is a very realistic character in that she is very flawed, she makes stupid decisions, becomes irrational, angry, happy all at the drop of a hat. She has a lot of issues to deal with and she doesn't always confront them the right way - but that's what makes her human.
I really liked Kyle as a character, for once Bourne has written a male character who is not a jerk, but a genuinely nice guy. But I had to admit that he got on my nerves a bit, Amber would ask him questions about his life and he would just reply that he was 'boring', that there wasn't anything really notable about him and that he always just does 'what's expected of him'. I mean, what does that even mean!? It felt to me that he was hiding something or just trying to be annoying. He knew so much about Amber's life and past, but could barely talk about his sisters or upbringing. But overall he is a nice character and you can't help but want them to end up together.
The other characters at camp are just there to bump the story, they don't have much character development and are pretty forgettable, a bit like in the first book. They serve their purpose and then fade away.
Evie and Lottie still appear, but only over video chats and emails as they are still in the UK. I love how strong their friendship bond is and how supportive they are, but I have to admit the Feminist rants get on my nerve a bit. Now before you blast me and call me anti-feminist, I'm not. But I believe more in equality for everybody. Men and Women should be equal - that is true feminism, but a lot of the time, I feel like these girls only focus on how to make women better, how to boost women's rights, and yet they hardly ever focus on men's disadvantages. At one point, Kyle discusses male stereotypes and how 'nice guys' are never seen as a positive thing, that you have to be tough and strong to be a 'man', Amber agrees with him, calls Kyle a 'nice guy' but confirms that she still finds him attractive - then changes the subject. It just feels very one sided and a little bit like I'm being told off throughout Lottie's rants.
Overall though, the story-line is good and I definitely started to like Amber a lot more. If you want a good summer romance novel, then this ticks a lot of boxes. Although it's nearly 500 pages, it's actually quite a quick read.

My Rating

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